Post details: Buying a House? Get a Warranty

02/17/05

Permalink 10:50:42 am, Categories: Articles, 363 words   English (US)

Buying a House? Get a Warranty


Peter Miller
Homes are just like any other purchase. Here's an argument for getting a buyer's warranty.

WarrantyAll veteran homeowners know that when you buy a house, you're buying a set of potential problems. The furnace might refuse to heat. The water heater could fail. Face it, any number of things can go wrong after closing, costing you thousands of dollars. Fortunately, there's a way to make a balky air conditioner or a leaky roof seem like a mere nuisance rather than a calamity: Buy a home warranty.

New-Home Warranties
The term "home warranty" applies to two forms of protection: insurance plans for new homes and service agreements for existing homes. Each has value, and each has limitations. State laws and typical building practices provide for four forms of new-home protection:

Implied warranties require builders to construct homes that are "reasonably fit" for use as housing, constructed in a "good and workmanlike" manner and "habitable." These are broad and debatable standards, little more than a starting place.

Imposed warranties are rules and standards set by state government. For instance, a water pipe into the house must be buried a certain number of inches below the ground to prevent it from freezing. If a building inspector finds that it's been done improperly, the builder must correct the problem before the home can be occupied.

Express warranties are written promises from builders that outline construction standards. These warranties are always limited because builders want to restrict potential liability.

Product warranties come from manufacturers, not builders. New refrigerators, garbage disposals and dishwashers all have manufacturer warranties, which means that buyers have some protection if replacement or repairs are needed.

The catch with these warranties is that all the promises, rules, and regulations mean little unless purchasers can get help when something goes wrong. You assume that builders will make repairs, but what if they refuse? Or what if they've gone out of business?

That's when you'll be glad that you bought a new-home warranty, a fifth kind of warranty separate from those described above. It guarantees that the warranty firm will step in and get things fixed.

Better Homes and Gardens

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